January 5, 2011
As we suspected, we did end up at the hospital today. We made it through the night with no fever, but Tanner woke up with no improvement in the neck pain, coughing and feeling bad. While we were waiting to be seen, I noticed she had developed a lacy rash on her arms and neck. I actually felt relieved about that because it meant that she probably had a virus as opposed to swollen lymph nodes because of reasons I can’t even bring myself to write.
The doctor agreed that she probably has some kind of virus and has tested her for all viruses, but specifically for Epstein Barr and Parvo Virus. Epstein Barr is the virus that leads to monolucleiosis for some people, but not all. Parvo is commonly called Fifth’s Disease or Slapped Cheeks because it can cause red cheeks and is accompanied by a lacy rash. Neither will be a great situation as both viruses are known to compromise bone marrow and can cause anemia. In the normal person, their bone marrow can compensate and regenerate quickly. Tanner’s will not. If she has either of these viruses, her counts will likely drop across the board and necessitate blood and platelet transfusions and bottom out her neutraphils. It would take a while for her body to recover. The results of the virus panels will not come back for a few days.
Dr. Mixan decided to give her an IVIG transfusion. This is an antibody transfusion that might help her recover from this virus. The effect of an IVIG transfusion is not proven on ALL patients, but anecdotally, it has helped Tanner in the past. She is almost always low on the IgG antibody, but we usually don’t transfuse until she’s below 400 (600 is the low side of normal for a kid her age). She was at 481 today, but we thought it might help. Unfortunately, it has a common side effect of nasty headaches for a few days. Tanner had one last time (this is her third IVIG transfusion) so I’m waiting for that shoe to drop.
Tanner cried today thinking she might not get to go to Alice in Wonderland rehearsal on Friday night or her first Annie rehearsal Saturday. I’m hoping she’ll get to be in the plays at all.
She cried a lot today. About going to the hospital this morning, about being “sick,” about possibly missing things. She is just so sick of all of this. I want to hug her and comfort her and tell her I understand, but unfortunately, I think it doesn’t help her be strong… and she needs to be strong. We reminded her today that everyone gets sick, not just people with leukemia, and that this isn’t that big of a deal. But, I think she is smart enough to know that when “normal” kids get sick, they don’t have to go to the hospital and have blood drawn and get transfusions. As always, though, she bucked up and is holding it together, at least for now.
Please, please send good thoughts or pray or whatever you do that this is just a bump in the road and not a break down that will cause her to miss lots of school and these plays she so desperately wants to do.